Businesses across multiple industries are currently looking to align their technology investments with the solutions likely to offer them advantages moving forward.
In particular, the influence of 3D printing is expanding, with research organisation Gartner selecting it as one of its top 10 trends that will define 2016. The firm chose the technology on the basis of both its current impact and potential to evolve further over the next few years.
What does this mean for businesses?
Gartner's endorsement of 3D printers should prompt businesses to rethink the potential for the equipment to alter their workflow. Considering the technology is based around innovation and flexibility, organisations have a significant degree of freedom when it comes to integrating 3D printers with their standard design practices.
3D printing is also changing the way designers approach prototyping, with the technology enabling businesses to produce physical models of their virtual creations quicker and cheaper than they could before.
Iterative design has also reached new levels of flexibility due to the rising popularity of 3D printing. The process sees designers cycle a creation through a selection of steps, allowing it to evolve as problems are removed and new features are refined.
This concept is particularly useful for products that will release to a wide user base, as designers can get an idea of how they function before they are distributed to the public.
According to Gartner Vice President David Cearly, these processes will become even more efficient as 3D printers continue to evolve.
"3D printing will see a steady expansion over the next 20 years of the materials that can be printed, improvement in the speed with which items can be printed and emergence of new models to print and assemble composite parts," he said.
How will the technology change?
Currently, with devices like the Ultimaker 2, designers can only use plastic filaments. While this is enough to support businesses in the prototyping phase of their design projects, there are further developments planned for the future.
According to IDC, the two main motivations for the future of the technology concern a reduction in manufacturing times and material costs, two trends that are likely to greatly influence adoption rates.
On top of this, Gartner forecasted a potential expansion for these devices into printing with additional materials, which would greatly increase their usability.
Redstack offers a range of 3D printers as well as the software necessary to create designs for them. Read our free whitepaper to find out how these solutions can benefit your business.
Pricing and more information
Redstack can offer a range of solutions tailored to your unique needs, including software, hardware, 3D printers, training and support, or we can provide 3D printing services for you. Contact us for pricing and more information.